IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a live-blog report on protests and unrest in Egypt on February 4, 2011. The information and videos in this report are sourced from various social media outlets, with Twitter being our primary source. We will do our best to interpret the events, but the situation is chaotic and information is difficult to confirm. Please note that the timestamps represent when we posted something, not necessarily when the event itself occurred.
Graeme Wood Contributing Editor, for The Atlantic reports that he spotted Amr Moussa heading to Kasr el Nil bridge:
Google map of location:
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Amr Moussa is Secretary General of the Arab League.
Here is the tweet:
Source on the ground in Tahrir Square reports that he witnessed some reporters were detained. Not sure by whom at this time, but the source did indicate that they were American and Swiss reporters.
Picture from Tahrir Square right now (source), click to enlarge:
Alexander Weissink, correspondent for Het Financieele Dagblad, a Dutch financial daily, tweets from Cairo:
Australian reporter Hamish Macdonald tweets:
Chants of “Revolution! Revolution!”
A source reports from Tahrir Square that people are chanting, “this is the youth’s revolution, this is the people’s revolution.”
Al Arabiya reports a million people having joined Friday prayer in Tahrir Square:
Okay, the picture is becoming more clear with respect to the Iranian dictator-cleric, Khamenei’s support for anti-Mubarak demonstrations in Egypt. He is calling for an Islamic regime in Egypt and elsewhere in the middle east (everywhere where people are rising up in protest).
During Friday prayers in Iran today, he has been singing his praises for the demonstrations. But he is doing so with a clear strategic objective in mind. And with Hamas letting anti-Mubarak protests to take place in Gaza, it seems like an orchestrated campaign to turn the popular uprisings into an “Islamic Awakening,” likening what is happening in Arab countries to the 1979 revolution in Iran.
Is this wishful thinking. Certainly.
Is it impossible? Certainly not.
The 1979 revolution in Iran was also a popular uprising, one in which the Islamists displayed the most will, the most passion, and the most zeal in their quest to fill the vacuum of leadership following the Shah’s departure. Ultimately, they were successful. This is despite the fact that liberals and secularists were also involved in ousting the Shah. The Islamists managed to arouse passions in Iran by capitalizing off of the fact that people where not happy about western support of the Shah’s regime.
Western leaders and all people who believe in democracy, human rights, civil rights, and secularism MUST spread the word. We should not buy into the argument that the Muslim Brotherhood, or anyone else for that matter that can be considered to be in the “Islamist” camp, is not dangerous. They are dangerous. Even their moderates believe that women should wear hejab. Even their moderates want Sharia law. Trust me. That’s bad. Ask any Iranian not linked to the regime. It’s really bad.
We should not underestimate the rhetoric of Khamenei and his ilk. He sees himself as leader of the Islamic world, and there are many in the middle east that buy into his crap.
His Friday prayer sermon is a call to arms to Muslims in the region. We ignore this at our own peril.
Ivan Watson reports that the rhetoric in Tahrir Square today is more “Islamist” in nature. Lots of Muslim Brotherhood there.
CNN also reports that Hamas in Gaza has allowed a rare protest, anti-Mubarak, to take place in Gaza…. Hmmm… Okay, so now we have Khamenei of Iran and Hamas supporting the anti-Mubarak protesters.
I have stressed this before and will continue to stress this: People of Egypt should remain vigilant and not let their uprising be sabotaged by the Islamists, no matter whether they are “moderate” or radical. The Islamists want an Islamic state with Sharia law. People of Egypt: Don’t be fooled by them and make sure you don’t let what happened to Iran in 1979 happen to your country. Iran’s revolution was sabotaged by Islamists who promised human rights and freedom, but delivered 32 years of misery, death and decay.
We are having trouble accessing Bit.Ly again. Hmmmm… seems less likely now that Libyan gov. is involved, more likely that it is either a denial of service attack or some other issue that is rendering the service really slow at this time.
CNN reports police in riot gear with automatic weapons in the Square.
Lara Setrakian of ABC News (@LaraABCNews) tweets:
Ivan Watson, reporting from Tahrir Square, says that some are calling today “Friday of Farewell” and “Day of Departure”, meaning today is the day when people expect Mubarak to leave the country or step down.
Also, apparently people are planning to march from Tahrir Square to the Presidential Palace.
Looks like Bit.ly is back up now. Perhaps it was just an outage, unrelated to the protests in Egypt. Still, the fact that the domain is registered in Libya leaves us wondering if it went down for political reasons.
A large banner has been planted in Tahrir Square with the writing “PEOPLE DEMAND THE REMOVAL OF THE REGIME” on it.
Multiple reports coming in of thousands, possibly tens of thousands of people now in Tahrir Square, with more marching in.
Blogger, Sand Monkey reports that the Egyptian defense minister is supposedly on his way to the square to check if things are alright.
Ben Wedeman () who lives in Cairo, tweets:
Words cannot describe the level of hypocrisy!
This is a guy with more notoriety than Pol Pot – a guy who has been instrumental in the killings and murder of thousands of Iranians – a fellow who less than two years ago, declared his own people as “the enemy” and ordered a merciless and bloody crackdown. This is a guy who today condones murder (he calls it execution) at an unparalled rate for our times. This year alone, under his leadership, over 100 people have been executed in Iran.
When a guy like Khamenei starts to throw his support for protesters in Egypt, one has to wonder, does he know something we don’t know? The Iranian government has made statements trying to imply that the uprising is an Islamic one. Hopefully, it’s just wishful thinking on his part.
Ivan Watson of CNN (@IvanCNN) has reported that he is currently inside Tahrir Square. This confirms the report that journalists are inside the square. Also, since Ivan Watson is a CNN journalist, it is clear that the Americans are now allowed inside.
Is this something ad hoc?
Ivan Watson reports that there are lots of foot soldiers in Tahrir Square, and that he feels a lot safer than in the last couple of days, when journalists have been beaten and harassed by pro-Mubarak people.
We will see how things progress, as it was only a few hours ago that Anderson Cooper was reporting that he was afraid for his safety and had to report from an undisclosed location.
Considering the hostility towards journalists today, we are going to revert to what is now (in Internet and Web 2.0 time) an old tactic. In order to not risk the lives and safety of our sources on the ground in Egypt, we will refrain from naming them.
One source who is on the ground in Tahrir square now has reported that it is currently relatively quiet, with long lines to the entrances to the square. IDs are being thoroughly checked (we are not sure by whom at this time).
The source says that they currently see several foreign journalists inside the square, with cameras. This is a surprise considering the reports from various mainstream western media outlets. Perhaps the media blackout is selective. Is it just American journalists being targeted? Will be interesting to see if they manage to get into the square or if they continue to report from their hotels or rooms in undisclosed locations.
One of the more popular tools that people use to shorten the URLs (the strings of characters that you see at the top of your web browser that start with http://), called Bit.ly, is unreachable by us at this time.
We have never seen it go down before (though we can’t confirm that it has never happened).
This is highly suspect.
Bit.ly is a domain registered in Libya, where Qaddafi runs his own dictatorship. Is Qaddafi’s regime now colluding with the Egyptians? Is Qaddafi himself worried about the trend of uprisings in Arab countries?
WARNING: The following video, from yesterday’s protests in Egypt, is very graphic and shocking. Viewer discretion advised. Already viewed over 122,991 times on YouTube. It shows a van running over protesters yesterday:
The roars of rage and dismay from the crowd are palpable. Who could do such a thing on has to ask.
Sadly, we have witnessed a very similar incident in Iran, on December 27th of 2009 during the Iran Ashura Uprising:
WARNING: Very graphic video
On the 10th day of protests in Egypt, things got bad for journalists, with mainstream media outlets being targeted by pro-Mubarak forces.
Many, including CNN journalists (such Anderson Cooper and Nic Robertson) have gone into hiding in Cairo and other areas of Egypt.
Last time something similar happened was during the 2009 Iran election uprising. With no mainstream media in Iran, people in the streets–basically a new breed of citizen journalists–starting filming and taking pictures of the protests and crackdowns using their mobile phones, and sharing them on the social media outlets (primarily Twitter, YouTube and Facebook). Censorship was tried by a totalitarian government. That censorship failed.
I’m betting the same thing will happen in Egypt. People will get the story out, and the social media outlets will be at the forefront.
As we start our live-blog of Day 11 of the uprising, one thing is clear – we are now covering a revolution. Whatever happens–whomever remains in power–Egypt is forever changed.
The stakes have been raised by supporters of the government. Two days ago, when men riding horses and camels, wielding clubs, chains, sticks and knives charged into the epicenter of the protests in Cairo Egypt, In Tahrir Square, Mubarak has made it clear that all bets are off. Protesters, including women and children, some who had camped in the square in a kind of sit-in protest, were attacked viciously.
The Battle of Tahrir Square ensued. Reports of 800 to 1000 protesters injured and 5 to 10 protesters killed.
The world saw this battle in real-time as the social media outlets and all forms of media worked in tandem to get the story out. It was coverage unlike anything that had ever come before it.
On the night before the attack, Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) and Ben Wedeman (@bencnn) of @CNN reported from Tahrir Square that pro-Mubarak protesters were starting to show hostility towards them. This was a euphemistic assessment. The following day, they, along with Christian Amanpour (@camanpour) and other journalists were confronted and attacked. Watch these harrowing, must-see videos:
Anderson Cooper and CNN crew attacked:
Christian Amanpour confronted by pro-Mubarak proteste who says to her: “We hate America… We want you to go!”
Amanpour asks “Why?”
He responds “Because… we hate you… you are not good personal! Please go..!”
This morning, we watched as various reporters who were reporting for the mainstream news outlets reported from undisclosed locations in Cairo that it was no longer safe for them there, some of them–including Anderson Cooper–expressed fear and uncertainty for their situations and what could come next.
With the attempted media blackout by the pro-Mubarak forces (government and vigilante), one has to wonder if something terrible may be in the works. Could we see something like another Tienanman Square? Will we see the type of unrestrained crackdown we saw in Iran, when plainclothed vigilantes worked in tandem with revolutionary guards, riot police and even paid mercenaries and goons from other countries to viciously attack the protesters? We hope not.
It is 9:50AM in Egypt. With the situation very tense, we begin our live-blog.
Stay-tuned here, or follow us on Twitter.